Science

Book Review: The Power of Chance in Shaping Life and Evolution - Scibooks

Guest Author Dec 15, 2020

Dan Falk Prince Hamlet spent a lot of time pondering the nature of chance and probability in William Shakespeare’s tragedy. In the famous “To be or not to be” speech, he notes that we helplessly face “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” — though a little earlier in the play he declares that “there’s a special providence … Read More

Mammoth bones – and … potatoes??? - BioBlog

Alison Campbell Dec 11, 2020

Today I came across an interesting share in a science group that I follow – an article about a “huge 25,000-yr-old hut” made of mammoth bones. Having really enjoyed Jean Auel’s “Earth’s Children” series, of course, I was going to read on. But alas, the article was disappointing: the headline image didn’t match the story; the apparent construction … Read More

Report shows New Zealand’s ‘fragmented’ environmental research funding doesn’t match most urgent needs - Guest Work

Guest Author Dec 10, 2020

Troy Baisden, University of Waikato There’s a serious mismatch between what New Zealand’s government identified as the most pressing environmental issues, including climate change and freshwater quality, and the investments in environmental research it actually makes. A report released today by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (PCE) shows New Zealand spends about NZ$500m on environmental … Read More

Is science becoming artificially intelligent? - Ariadne

Robert Hickson Dec 09, 2020

Is science becoming “AI-led”, as some venture capitalists suggest? The short answer is no. A slightly longer response is that’s not the most important question to ask about the future of science.   A tool, not a solution DeepMind’s success in determining quite accurate 3D protein structures in a competition made headlines … Read More

An ocean like no other: the Southern Ocean’s ecological richness and significance for global climate - Guest Work

Guest Author Dec 08, 2020

Ceridwen Fraser, University of Otago; Christina Hulbe, University of Otago; Craig Stevens, National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, and Huw Griffiths, British Antarctic Survey In 2018, a map named after an oceanographer went viral. The so-called Spilhaus projection, in which Earth is viewed from above the South Pole, was designed to show the connected nature of the ocean … Read More

Ancient sponges or just algae? New research overturns chemical evidence for the earliest animals - Hot off the press

Guest Author Dec 01, 2020

Lennart van Maldegem, Australian National University; Benjamin Nettersheim, Max Planck Institute; Christian Hallmann, Max Planck Institute; Ilya Bobrovskiy, California Institute of Technology, and Jochen Brocks, Australian National University Sponges are the simplest of animals, and they may stand at the root of all complex animal life on Earth, including us humans. Scientists study the evolution of the earliest sponges, hundreds … Read More

Big Eye Wide, But Shut - Out of Space

Duncan Steel Nov 23, 2020

A few days ago the US National Science Foundation (NSF) announced the decommissioning of the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. This story has been the subject of items in the mass media around the globe, and also in New Zealand. Cables supporting the massive horns and radio receivers above the dish have snapped, the actual dish surface has been … Read More